In what way does Hyperion reflect Keats’s personal views about himself as a poet?

The Autobiograpical Value of the Portrayal of Apollo in Book III
                We can read more than one meaning into the poem Hyperion (the first version known as a “Fragment”). One way of looking at this poem is to regard it as an indirect and allegorical treatment by Keats of himself in his character of a poet. Book 111 of the poem, which deals with Apollo, is particularly autobiographical, but the first two Books also have certain autobiographical elements in them. According to one reading of the poem, Apollo and not Hyperion is the chief character in it.

Apollo is, after all, the god of poetry, and therefore the immortal poet. The portrayal of Apollo must therefore have been determined completely by Keats’s own knowledge of the poetic nature. In other words, in presenting the character of Apollo to us, Keats had his own nature, and his own nature only, to draw upon for his material. The legend about the Titans was rather vague, but the inward reality of Apollo had nothing vague about it because Keats himself was the model for the portrayal of Apollo. In Book III of Hyperion, Keats said all that he could possibly say at that point of time concerning the poetic nature, and therefore concerning Apollo. And because he said here whatever he could have said about the nature of Apollo and consequently about himself as a poet, the poem is in one sense complete and not just a fragment. In Book III Keats reveals the secret of the poetic nature, and therefore of his own nature as a poem. Hyperion is therefore a complete poem. It can be understood wholly in and for itself. It may be a fragment, but it is a finished fragment.

The Writing of “Hyperion”, An Escape From the Pains of Life
                When Keats began to write Hyperion, he was in deep distress on account of the continuing illness of his brother Tom, an illness which seemed to have reached its final stage before killing the patient. Keats tried at that time to escaps from the pains of life by creating a new world in his new poem. The greatest of those pains was, of course, the continual watching of his brother’s lingering death. At the same time to watch Tom moving towards death also meant a warning to him of his own premature end, because he had returned from his tour of Scotland with the beginnings of consumption .in himself. And then, to aggravate matter’s, there was the hostile criticism of his poem Endymion, which too weighed heavily upon his mind. Yet another cause of anxiety to him was his unsatisfied desire for a woman’s love. The only refuge from all these pains could be a world of the imagination. And so he started writing Hyperion, the mythological personalities of which would be a source of distraction and comfort to him. However, he started writing the poem somewhat unwillingly because he knew that, concerning the character and destiny of the poet-Apollo he was still in the condition of “purgatory blind”. (He had used the phrase “purgatory blind” in one of his letters to describe his mental condition of confusion and ignorance).
No Evidence of the Superiority of the Olympians Over the Titans
                Hyperion begins with an elaborate description of the misery which god Saturn experienced as a result of his defeat at the hands of the Olympians, a misery which seemed to have almost paralyzed both his body and mind. Hyperion is one of the saddest poems in English, but its sadness is not the icy chill of intellectual despair; it is the warm, rich sadness of a suffering heart determined to control its pain. The poem throbs, even though all its figures are divine and immortal, with “the still, sad music of humanity.”[1] The characters in the poem, though divine and immortal, are essentially human; their sufferings and anger are human, and their wisdom is human. Keats could not help it. He was writing from his heart, of what he knew. The life of these Titans was the life in which he himself was involved. That is why, although his story for its own progress demanded that the defeated Titans should be inferior to the victorious Olympians, yet no Olympian could be wiser, kinder, and more beautiful than Saturn. That Saturn has been overthrown by other gods simply means the defeat of the wise, kind, and beautiful by the wise, kind, and beautiful. That he should reconquer his throne from the usurpers would be just another victory of good over good. Oceanus, indeed, says that just as the Titans are far superior to Heaven and Earth, so the Olympians are far superior to the Titans. According to Oceanus, there is a higher perfection than that represented by the Titans, and that higher perfection is to be found in the Olympians. The Titans have therefore to be succeeded by a power which is more beautiful and more strong than they. That power (represented by Jove) is destined to surpass the Titans, just as the Titans have surpassed the old darkness and chaos. Now, the speech made by Oceanus is undoubtedly a noble utterance, but the poem itself does not confirm the views expressed by Oceanus. Oceanus speaks about the new dynasty as being far more beautiful and therefore more strong than the Titans, but when we consider the various characters in the poem—Saturn, Rhea, Oceanus, Mnemosyne, and Clymene—we do not think that any power can be more beautiful and therefore more strong than these characters. Certainly we cannot conceive of a greater majesty than possessed by Saturn, or of greater wisdom than is displayed by Oceanus, or of greater splendour than that of Hyperion.
The Power of the True Poet Higher Than that of the Titans
                The only one of the Olympians to appear actually before us in the poem is Apollo. He is perhaps more beautiful than the dethroned Titans, but he has had no hand in their defeat. He is a poet, and a divine singer, while the Titans have no singer except the child-like Clymene. Perhaps Keats is here saying that the only “power more strong in beauty” to excel the Titans was the power of the true poet. Just as the pain of the Titans is the pain of life itself, inflicted without cause and suffered without demerit, so all that can be added to the sufferers is first a comprehension of that pain, and then an utterance of that comprehension. Oceanus comprehends it, but he comprehends it only partially. The “fresh perfection” which he visualizes will not be what he thinks it will be. Jove is certainly not going to be nobler than Saturn, and Neptune will not be wiser than Oceanus. There is only one “fresh perfection” which may come, and that is the perfection of a vaster knowledge than that of Oceanus. Yet even that perfection Mnemosyne already possesses.
Apollo, Only a Golden Voice and No More in Books I and II
                Mnemosyne, like Apollo himself, does not enter into the poem until Book III. She is an entirely new conception, just as Book III itself is an entirely new phase of the poem. The first two Books belong together; they were written mainly before Tom’s death. The thought of Apollo had been kept in the distance in those two Books; we know no more of him than that Clymene had heard the calling of the golden singer’s name. Clymene, giving an account of her experience, to the assembled Titans, says that she had heard a voice sweeter than all tunes, crying: “Apollo, young Apollo, themorning-bright Apollo.” Evidently, Clymene had heard Apollo’s own voice crying his own name. Apollo was just shouting in a sweet voice his own name because lie was drunk with his own lovely destiny. And that golden voice, described by Clymene, echoed amid the Titans and their cave. In the first two Books of Hyperion, Apollo is nothing more than a golden voice. Till Tom was dead, Apollo could be no more than a golden voice. What Keats was to know and to be, could not be decided till after Tom’s death; and Apollo could know only what Keats knew, and Apollo could be only what Keat, was.
Sorrow, Joy, and Sorrow Again, in the Beginning of Book III
                The opening lines of Book III touch directly on Tom’s death, when Keats asks the Muse to leave the Titans to their woes and to concern itself with a “solitary sorrow” and a lonely grief. The death of Tom had undoubtedly brought great sorrow to Keats, but the ordeal through which Keats had been going had at last ended. With the death of his brother, Keats was able to breathe freely again. He had starved himself of life for his brother’s sake; now life passed into him again, and for a moment into his poem. There is a burst of new confidence in the lines where Keats calls upon all Nature to commemorate the Father of all verse, namely Apollo. Let the rose glow intense and warm the air, says Keats. Let the clouds float in voluptuous fleeces over the hills ; let the shells turn rosy through all their mysterious interiors; “let the maid blush keenly as with some warm kiss surprised” ; and let the island of Delos rejoice with its olives, poplars, palms, and beeches. All this because “Apollo is once more the golden theme.” We cannot miss the inrush of new and intoxicating life in these lines. Nothing could be a more gay prelude to he coming of Apollo. And yet, after only ten lines more, Apollo appears weeping not joyfully but in an agony of pain:
He listened and he wept, and his bright tears
Went trickling down the golden bow he held.
Nor were those tears such that any immortal could wipe them away, not even Mnemosyne.
Keats’s Frustration in Love, the Reason Behind the Sorrow
                What had happened was simply this, Tom had died; Keats had entered into life again, and he had fallen in love. There had really been a moment of triumphant confidence. He had begun to pour it into his poem, but for a moment only. The rapture soon faded away because a new sorrow came to him. This sorrow came from his knowledge that he could not hope for the fulfilment of his passionate love. “The burden of the mystery” had descended upon him more terribly than ever. Morning-bright Apollo’s fleeting moment of radiance was over; and therefore he wept.
Apollo’s Encounter with Mnemosyne
                To the weeping Apollo comes a stern comforter, the goddess Mnemosyne who had been guarding him, unseen by him and unknown to him. But Apollo had seen or rather felt traces of her great presence; and now, as she stands before him, he cries to her that he had seen the eternal calm of her eyes and had seen her face, adding that he had perhaps not seen her eyes and face but dreamed of them. The goddess confirms Apollo’s view that he had dreamed of her. She also says that, on waking up from his dream, he had found a lyre by his side and that the exquisite music, never heard before had come from that lyre when he had played on it. She then asks what sorrow it is which is troubling him. She gives him some idea of who she is by saying that she is an ancient power who has forsaken old and sacred thrones for his sake and for the sake of the new loveliness which he represents.
The Two Phases in Keats’s Knowledge of Mnemosyne
                Who is this Mnemosyne who has forsaken the old order for the new, of whose face the young Apollo had dreamed and then woke up into a possession of a matchless power of song. In the present poem there are two phrases in Keats’s knowledge of Mnemosyne: the first is Apollo’s dream of her, by which he becomes a poet; the second is Apollo’s waking sight of her, by which his whole body is convulsed and, changed by “knowledge enormous”, he become a god. This only shows that Apollo and Keats himself are essentially the same.
The Deification of Apollo
                Mnemosyne means memory; and she has forsaken the old gods to guard the new-born loveliness of Apollo. When Apollo sees her before him, he cries, in answer to her question about his sorrow, that she already knows the cause of his sorrow and that he need not tell her anything. However, he expresses his dissatisfaction with the kind of the life that he is leading, especially because he cannot comprehend the mystery of the universe. He wants to know which is the power controlling the forces of Nature. He speak of his own “aching ignorance” and he asks the goddess to tell him why he keeps raving about the groves on the island. To Apollo’s appeal in aching ignorance, Mnemosyne makes no reply. Apollo looks at her face again, and the secret is revealed to him. He reads a wonderful lesson in her silent face. In that face he reads names, deeds, gray legends, dire events, rebellions, majesties, sovereign voices, agonies, creations and destroyings. All this enormous knowledge makes a god of him; all this has the effect of deifying him. He feels as if he had drunk some bright elixir and become immortal. The poem ends with Keats’s description of the fierce convulsions through which Apollo goes and as a result of which he “dies into life.” In other words, the poem ends with the deification of Apollo. Apollo’s dreaming of Mnemosyne had made the boy Apollo a poet, a lovely and unconcious singer. But his beholding her face to face has made of him a great poet.
The Identification of Keats with Apollo
                Apollo is Keats himself. In the pain of his death into life, brought upon him by what he sees in the face of Mnemosyne, he had conquered that which he had sought through the year of purgatory blind; he had conquered the lore of good and ill. For Mnemosyne’s face contains all life, past, present, and future. She is the eternal existence of the universe. She belongs to the new order as well as to the old because she is immanent and ever-lasting; she is a pure mirror of what is—agonies, creations and destroyings—and in that reflection what is revealed is what must be. And of her the boy Keats had dreamed. She was “the vast idea” he had mentioned in his early poem Sleep and Poetry. She had become “the mighty abstract idea of beauty in all things”; and Keats had struggled through “purgatory blind” for a vision of her, face to face. Now he had achieved what he sought, and knowledge enormous made a god of him, through the pain of a death in life and a second birth.
A Symbolic Emergence of Keats as a Mature Poet
                And so the first Hyperion ends. Keats has become a great and true poet. The great poet is not a mystic; he is a doer, a maker, a revealer, a creator. The continuation of Hyperion is all the later poems which Keats wrote, the few that were written and the many that he could not write on account of his premature death. Those which were written are among the very loveliest and profoundest poems in the English language. They are all the great odes, Lamia, and the second Hyperion. And they were only a beginning, and in Keats’s own opinion a very small beginning. If Keats had lived, he would certainly have equalled Shakespeare, and he might even have turned to the writing of dramas and met the great Bard on his own ground.
Hyperion’s Apprehensions, a Reflection of Keats’s Own
                There is something autobiographical in Keats’s portrayal of the sun-god Hyperion also. Hyperion is represented as feeling very apprehensive about his future. He yet retains his sovereignty over his planet of the sun but, having seen certain bad omens, he has an uneasy feeling that he might be overthrown. In this state of mind he asks himself if he is going to lose this “haven” of his rest, this “cradle of his glory”, this “soft clime”, this “calm luxuriance of blissful light”. He asks himself if he is going to lose his “lucent empire”, and if he is going to bid good-bye to “the blaze, the spelendour, and the symmetry.” Now, the apprehensions and fears of Hyperion in a way reflect Keats’s own fears and anxieties. His brother Tom died in the course of his writing this poem. He had been much oppressed by his financial worries. His poem Endymion had been bitterly criticized and condemned by reviewers. His love for Fanny Brawne did not seem to be bearing any fruit. His own health had greatly deteriorated, and he was already apprehending a premature death. All these facts of his life had made him feel miserable. In the misery of the Titans, and especially in Hyperion’s misery, may be seen Keats’s own misery.

To what extent does Hyperion meet the requirements of the epic form of poetry?

Characteristics of an Epic Poem
                An epic is a long narrative poem with a lofty theme treated in a lofty style. An epic generally deals with the mighty deeds of heroes, be they men or gods or both. An epic Is always written in the same metre throughout. The subject of an epic poem may be some well-known legend or some momentous sequence of historical events. An epic poem portrays characters on a grand scale. An epic is written in a grand style. An epic has a grand underlying idea. Thus grandeur is the keynote of an epic poem. Some of the best-known epic poems in western literature are the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, and the Divine Comedy by Dante. (In Indian literature the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are outstanding examples of epic poetry recognized by the whole world).

The Subject of Keats’s Epic Poem “Hyperion”
                Keats intended his Hyperion to be an epic poem. It was originally meant to be an epic in ten or twelve books. Keats’s purpose was to describe the warfare of the earlier Titanic dynasty with the later Olympian dynasty of Greek gods and, in particular, one episode of that warfare, namely the dethronement of the sun-god Hyperion by a younger god called Apollo. The theme of the war between the Titans and the Olympians who overthrew the former often occurs in the literature which Keats was fond of reading. The specific theme, namely the dethronement of Hyperion, the old sun-god, by Apollo, the new god, is Keats’s own. Apollo is also the god of poetry, and so the story of Apollo and Hyperion was perhaps going to. symbolize the fate of the poet as a creator. Since the poem is unfinished, we cannot be sure. In any case, it is obvious that Keats’s poem has a lofty theme.
Very Little Action in This Epic Poem
                An epic poem abounds in heroic actions. However, there is a dearth of action in Hyperion. The reason for this dearth is that, when the poem begins, the Titans have already been defeated by the Olympians. In other words, the main action of the story has already taken place. Perhaps, if Keats had continued with the poem, he would have narrated some of the major episodes in the warfare retros­pectively. But as the poem stands, there is some talk of heroic action, especially by Enceladus and Hyperion himself, but there is actually little of such action in the poem. (The material for the poem has been drawn from Greek mythology, a knowledge of which was derived by Keats from various sources.)
The Characters in The Poem: Saturn
                As already indicated, an epic poem has an exalted theme treated in an exalted style, but the portrayal of characters is perhaps even more important. The characters must be heroic beings. They may be men or gods, or both. Hyperion deals only with gods. There is, to be sure, one human being: namely Apollo, but he has a divine origin; and, what is more, he is deified in the poem, thus becoming a. god (who will challenge the sovereignty of Hyperion). The leading characters in Keats’s poem are Saturn, Thea, Hyperion, Oceanus, Enceladus, Clymene, Mnemosyne, and Apollo. Keats’s portrayal of these characters is certainly very impressive, even though most of the gods including a few from this list are suffering from a deep depression of spirits on account of the defeat which they have suffered at the hands of the Olympians. We meet Saturn in the very opening lines where he is hardly depicted as a heroic figure. Saturn is described as sitting in a valley, silent and motionless, with “his old right hand” lying on the ground “nerveless, listless, .dead, and unsceptred”. Subsequently also he produces as impression, more of weakness and helplessness than of heroism. In reply to Thea’s speech, for instance, he laments the defeat of the Titans in language which arouses our sympathy rather than admiration. Later still, we find him experiencing all those emotions which would become a human being more than an immortal god who had been the chief ruler of the universe. The ex-ruler of the universe is described as experiencing such emotions as grief, rage, fear, anxiety, but most of all despair. It seems that Fate has poured a mortal oil upon his head and deprived him of his god-like qualities and attributes. In spite of all this, the figure of Saturn does create an impression of hugeness and vastness. His very lament over the loss of his empire conveys to us some idea of his past glory.
Character-Portrayal: Thea
                The portrayal of Thea produces a slightly more favourable impression. Her very size and stature give rise to a feeling of awe in our hearts. The tall Amazon, we are told, would have looked like a pigmy by the side of this goddess. Thea would have seized Achilles by the hair and twisted his neck. She could have, with one finger, brought to a stop the ever-revolving Ixion’s wheel. Her face was as large as that of Memphian Sphinx pedestalled in an Egyptian palace. Her face could be called beautiful if the expression of sorrow on it had not seemed to be even more beautiful than the face. She has one hand upon her heart as if she were feeling a cruel pain even though she is an immortal.
Character-Portrayal: Oceanus
                Of Oceanus we are not given any physical description, but he emerges as one of the most impressive figures in the poem. He is a sage and a philosopher. The defeat of the Titans has not made him despondent. He has been able to reconcile himself to the defeat by his cogitation, contemplation, and musing, so that there is an expression of “severe content” on his face. He tries his utmost to provide comfort to the grief-stricken gods and goddesses by his philosophy. His discourse is one of the grandest passages in the whole poem. It is, indeed, a memorable exhortation, pregnant with wisdom. His heroism lies in this capacity to explain and justify the defeat which the Titans have suffered at the hands of the younger gods. It is his great intellect and his deep wisdom which make a hero of him in our eyes.
Character-Portrayal: Enceladus
                Enceladus is another striking character in the poem. He was once tame and mild like an ox grazing calmly in a pasture. But at this time he is tiger-passioned, lion-thoughted, and wroth. In his imagination he is hurling mountains at his opponents in the second war which is yet to come. Oceanus’s exhortation produces no effect at all on this fearless giant. He dismisses the counsel offered by Oceanus as of no account at all. He addresses Oceanus as “thou, sham monarch of the waves”, and reminds him of the scalding which Oceanus had received during the war. Enceladus’s view is that the Titans must not lose heart because of their defeat but should get ready to fight again in order “to stifle that puny essence in its tent” (that is, to destroy the power of Jove who, in the eyes of Enceladus, is a puny or insignificant being as compared to the older gods). Enceladus’s defiance reminds us of Satan’s in Paradise Lost.
Character-Portrayal: Clymene
                Another character who wins our sympathy and even our admiration is Clymene. She is a modest goddess who speaks somewhat shyly and timidly but who strikes us as an admirable being by virtue of her sensitive and artistic temperament. She is fond of singing and playing on musical instruments. When she suddenly hears a new kinds of music, which comes to her from an island in the sea, she feels enchanted and bewitched. Although she tries to run away from that music, she is chased by a voice which keeps shouting the name of Apollo. Evidently, Clymene has felt completely overwhelmed by the sweetness of this new music the like of which had never been heard before.
Character-Portrayal: Mnemosyne
                Mnemosyne is another unforgettable character. It is she who confers godhood on Apollo. She has appeared to him in a dream, and she had placed by his side a golden lyre from the strings of which he was able to produce unprecedented music. It is by looking at her face that Apollo undergoes a transformation and “dies into life.” In her face he reads a wondrous lesson; there he reads names, deeds, gray legends, dire events, rebellions, majesties, sovran voices, creations and destroyings, all at once. She personifies the past, the present, and even the future. She is undoubtedly a grand figure in the poem.
Character-Portrayal: Hyperion
                However, it is the portrayal of Hyperion which stirs in us feelings of awe, terror, admiration, and sympathy. Keats devotes plenty of space to a portrayal of Hyperion. Hyperion still retains his sovereignty, his rule, and his majesty. Blazing Hyperion sits on his “orbed fire”, inhaling the incense sent up from man to the sun’s god. He paces from hill to hill with “stride colossal”. Entering his palace, he gives a roar which scares away the Hours. On he flares from vault to vault till he reaches the gate of the central dome where he stamps his foot fiercely. And yet, despite all this show of strength, the great sun-god is experiencing fear and apprehension lest he too should be dethroned. However, he takes heart when Father Uranus speaks to him in a whisper from heaven, urging him to rise above his fears and to go down to the earth in order to give whatever comfort and help he can to the defeated Titans. If Keats had continued the poem, he would have surely depicted Hyperion in action against Apollo, waging a mighty though losing battle against the younger god.
A Grand Idea Behind the Poem: Evolutionary Progress
                There is thus no doubt at all that the characters in this poem have been drawn on a grand scale and are worthy of an epic. We then come to the idea behind the poem. As already pointed out, this idea too is grand. In fact, there are two grand ideas behind the poem. One is to be found in the speech of Oceanus who urges the defeated Titans to accept their defeat with a good grace. He explains to them that evolution is the law of nature, and that no one can govern the universe for all time. He says that just as chaos and darkness had given way to light and life, and just as Heaven and Earth had been conquered by Saturn and his fellow-Titans, so the Titans must now accept their dethronement by the Olympians as an essential and inevitable part of the scheme of things. Saturn was not the first and he cannot be the last of powers. “So on our heels a fresh perfection treads”, he says. Those who have conquered the Titans will themselves be conquered one day by some other gods. We may define the principle underlying the speech of Oceanus as evolutionary progress or as revolutionary development (coup d’etat). We can also regard his speech as advocating the ideal of beauty. Perhaps the most important lines in this speech are:
                      for ‘tis the eternal law
That first in beauty should be first in might.
From this point of view Hyperion may be regarded as an epic of beauty’s triumph.
The Other Grand Idea: A Knowledge of the Past
                The other grand of idea underlying this poem is that a poet can attain the height of his powers only if he comes into close contact with the stern and stark realities of human life. A poet must not live in an ivory tower. Apollo has been experiencing a vague sorrow. His sorrow has been a source of great perplexity to him because he cannot understand what is tormenting him. There are several questions which he puts to Mnemosyne, and he receives an answer simply by looking at her face more closely. From her face he derives enormous knowledge which makes a god of him. What is this knowledge which he obtains? This is knowledge of the entire history of mankind. Apollo’s attaining this knowledge means that he has become fully acquainted with the sorrows, sufferings, agonies, and the tumults of the life of mankind. It is his acquisition of this knowledge which transforms Apollo into a god. In symbolic terms, the transformation of Apollo into a god means that the poet Keats has attained ripeness and maturity. So far Keats had only been theoretically talking about the strife and the agonies of the human heart; but now he has come into a direct contact with those aspects, of human life. Like Apollo, Keats now “dies into life”.
Certain Other Features of an Epic in “Hyperion”
                Then there are certain other features of this poem which give it the character of an epic. There is an invocation to the Muse at the beginning of Book III. Invocations are generally a part of the machinery of an epic poem. Then there is a long passage in which the various gods and goddesses are named and briefly described and individualized. This passage reminds us of the catalogue of warships in Homer’s Iliad. The description of the fallen Titans in this poem reminds us of the description of the fallen angels in Milton’s Paradise Lost. The conference of the Titans is akin to the conference of the angels in that poem. Enceladus, like Moloch in Paradise Lost, urges open war; while Oceanus, like Belial in Paradise Lost, stands for more moderate measures. And there are several other points of contact between this poem and Paradise Lost. Besides, Keats’s poem moves within all the three worlds. The fallen Titans are hiding in a cave, that is, in the under-world; Hyperion is described as still ruling his planet of the sun in the sky; while Apollo is described as dwelling on an island in this world.
Epic Similes
                Another important feature of Hyperion is the use of epic similes by Keats. A famous simile is the one found in the passage which describes the tall oak trees dreaming all night without a stir. Thea’s words to Saturn came and went like a gust of wind blowing suddenly through those oak trees which are regarded by the poet as “green-robed senators of mighty robes”. Another epic smile is found in the passage where the noise heard from the immortals when a god proceeds to make a speech is compared to “the roar of bleak-grown pines”.
In Praise of “Hyperion”
                Hyperion has received some glowing tributes from poets and critics. Byron said: ‘‘Hyperion seems actually inspired by the Titans and is as sublime as Aeschylus.” Shelley said: “If Hyperion be not grand poetry, none has been produced by our contemporaries.” Cazamian writes: “Hyperion is an epic poem in which Keats, competing with Milton on a footing of equality, set out to relate the celestial revolutions of pagan mythology, as did Milton the Christian cycle of a paradise lost and regained. Scarcely outlined as it is, already arresting by the vastness of conception which it promises by its visions of a gigantic and primitive world, this work stands out in wondrous majesty.” Another critic describes it as “one of the grandest poems in our language and in its grandeur one of the most spontaneous”. According to yet another critic “no English poem of any” length since Milton—complete or fragmentary—begins with a more majestic sureness of phrase than Hyperion.”
A Fault of Structure
                All this does not, however, mean that Hyperion is a perfect poem. It suffers from several imperfections and faults. In the first place, there is a fault in the structure. The first two books of the poem certainly form one compact unit. Here the poet sticks to the main line of the story. There is no digression, and no deviation from the chief concern of the poem. Every single line is relevant to the theme. But Book III marks a sudden and unexpected departure from the subject, thus giving a jolt to our minds. Book III has not been integrated with the first two books of the poem as it stands. Of course, if Keats have gone on with the poem and completed it, Book III would too have fallen into its proper place. In that case, Keats would have picked up the thread of the story where he left off at the end of Book II and, after describing some of the main episodes of the war between the Titans and the Olympians retrospectively, he would have depicted the conflict between Hyperion and the newly-deified Apollo, leading to Hyperion’s defeat. But as it is, the reader cannot see any connection between the first two books and the third. There is thus a discontinuity.
Too Much of the Miltonic Influence, Another Fault
                Another fault of the poem is an excess of the Miltonic influence. The Miltonic influence is certainly not altogether a fault because it is responsible for much of the majesty and grandeur of the poem; but too much of the Miltonic influence is certainly a flaw. Keats himself realized this and said that he had abandoned the poem because there were too many Miltonic inversions in it and because he could not write in Milton’s artful humour.
Lack of Action
                There is a lack of action in the poem. An epic deals with mighty deeds. But no mighty deeds are performed in Hyperion as the poem stands. The mighty deeds lie either in the past or in the future but none in the present poem. There are certainly some dramatic situations such as Clymene’s experience and Apollo’s deification, but no heroic actions. This too is a weakness in the poem. Besides, the epic strain of the first two books gives way to a lyrical note in the third. This too is a flaw.
Other Faults, As Pointed Out by a Critic
                At least one critic raises certain fundamental objections to the poem. According to him, the poem begins with a premature sense of an ending. The poem emerges into a scene of inaction, immobility, and silence. From the very beginning, then, Keats’s epic threatens to collapse under an impossible contradiction. How can a narrative move beyond its origin when that origin is itself both beginng and end. This critic also says that Keats portrays Saturn merely as a great fragment. “Farest on forest” hung above Saturn’s head; Saturn’s old right hand lay nerveless and listless; Saturn’s realmless eyes were closed; and Saturn’s head was bowed. Saturn is thus a thing of fragments: parts of him are magnified, but never, the whole. This critic further says that the state of spechlessness depicted at the beginning of the poem extends to the Titans themselves. The poem produces an impression not of an Aeschylean sublimity of style but the sublime immobility of death. However, it is not possible for us to agree with much of this criticism.

Discuss the theme of Hyperion. How far, in your view, has Keats succeeded in dealing with the theme in the existing fragment of the poem?

The Subject of the Epic: the War Between the Gods
                Although Hyperion is an incomplete poem and was therefore described as a fragment, yet the idea behind it emerges clearly as we go through it. The subject which Keats chose for his poem was the war between the Titans and the Olympians, and the victory of the latter over the former.

If the poem had been completed, Keats would almost certainly have described retrospectively some of the main episodes in the war which has ended when the poem begins. After describing the course of the war, he would have gone on to pick up the thread of the narrative from the point where Apollo is trans­formed into a god. Then would have come the crux of the whole saga, namely an encounter between Hyperion and Apollo, and the triumph of the latter. As it stands, the first two books of the epic describe the state of affairs after the war between the two classes of the gods has ended in the defeat of the Titans, with the exception of Hyperion who still retains his sovereignty over his realm of the sun. The Titans are feeling very despondent and are on the verge of total despair, with exception of Encladus who is still in a defiant mood.

Oceanus, Asked For His Views
                The chief of the Titans, namely Saturn, is feeling even more grief-stricken than the others. Hyperion’s wife Thea comes to him and concurs with him so far as his bleak view of the situation is concerned. Satan laments the loss of the power and authority, which he says, he had always exercised in 3 benevolent manner so as to keep his subject happy. Thea takes him to the den where the other Titans sit or lie in a despondent state. There Saturn makes a speech to his fellow-gods, expressing his puzzlement over the defeat which they have suffered. At the end of his speech he turns to’ Oceanus, the “sophist and sage”, and asks him for help and guidance in the present situation. Saturn has perceived an expression of “severe content” on the face of Oceanus; and this makes him think that Oceanus may be able to throw some light on the problem which is baffling Saturn.
The Underlying Idea of the Poem, Stated by Oceanus
                It is the speech which Oceanus makes in reply to Saturn’s question that contains the underlying idea of the whole poem. This underlying idea is that things can never stand still in this universe and that change and development are the law of Nature. According to Oceanus, progressive change must always take place (whether by evolution or by revolution). That is why we may say that the concept of evolutionary progress is the theme of the poem or that Keats is here writing an epic of the revolutionary idea. Oceanus makes some very significant and memorable remarks, his object being not to incite the gods against the victorious ones but to make it possible for them to reconcile themselves to their defeat.
Saturn, Not the Beginning Nor the End
                Oceanus tells the gods that the proper course for them to follow now is to be contented with their lot and to accept it even if means a loss of dignity. He says that he would be able to provide much comfort to them by his arguments provided they are willing to draw comfort from the facts as they are. He says that the Titans have fallen from their high positions as a result of the operation of the law of Nature and not because of the destructive thunderbolts of Jove. He tells Saturn in particular that, having been the supreme ruler of the universe and having held a position far above the others, he had missed the small point which minds of a lower order would fully perceive. According to Oceanus, Saturn has missed the route to wisdom and truth. Oceanus says that Saturn should realize that just as he was not the first ruler of the universe so he cannot be the last ruler. Saturn could not have remained the ruler of the universe for ever. “Thou art not the beginning nor the end,” Oceanus tells him. Originally chaos and darkness had prevailed in the universe. From the chaos and darkness had come light, and with light had come life. It was at this point that the first gods, Heaven and Earth, came into being. Then Saturn was born, the first issue of the union of Heaven and Earth. Then all the rest of the race of Titans and the race of Giants followed, so that they all found themselves to be the rulers of the various beautiful kingdoms. Oceanus points out to his fellow-gods that they should not be depressed by the loss of their kingdoms, because the real height of supremacy lies in the ability to look facts in the face in a spirit of complete calmless:
And to envisage circumstance, all calm,
That is the top of sovereignty.
First in Beauty Should Be First in Might
                Oceanus, countinuing his discourse, says that the Titans who were born of the union of Heaven and Earth had surpassed their parents in beauty, in compactness, in symmetry, in will-power, in the freedom of action, in the spirit of comradeship, and in a thousand other ways. And just as they had surpassed their parents, so the next generation of gods, led by Jove, had surpassed the Titans:
                So on our heels a fresh perfection treads,
A power more strong in beauty, born of us
And fated to excel us,………
Oceanus says that the Titans had to be succeeded by a power more beautiful and more strong than the Titans, even though that power had been begotten by the Titans themselves. The law governing the universe according to Oceanus is that “first in beauty should be first in might.” According to this law, the Olympians (Jove and his comrades) would in course of time be dethroned by another race which would be more beautiful and therefore more strong. Oceanus then cites his own ease, saying that the new god of the sea possesses greater glory than Oceanus and has such a glow of beauty in his eyes that Oceanus had voluntarily surrendered his empire to him and departed thence to come to this den to meet his fellow-Titans. Oceanus ends his exhortation by saying to his fellow-Titans: “Receive the truth and let it be your balm.”
Keats’s Message in the Fragmentary Epic, Expressed Fully
                Now, this is the truth which Keats wants also us to recognize and accept. Change, flux, ferment, development, evolution, revolution—these are inevitable. Change may come steadily or change may come in the form of the French Revolution or the Russian Evolution; but change must come. Change may take place peacefully or change may come through conflict and war; but come it must. Mankind should remain prepared for change: slow and steady, or violent and swift. And change in this universe has always been progressive. Saturn claims that his rule was a benevolent one. Speaking to Thea, he deplores the fact that he would no longer be able to exercise his benign influence on the planets, on the winds and seas, and on the life of mankind. He deplores the fact that he would no longer able to perform those acts by means of which he, as the supreme deity, used to give an outlet to his love for mankind as well as for the forces of Nature. He deplores the fact that he has lost his “strong identity” and his “real self”. He says that he would try to re-establish himself as the chief ruler of the universe. But, in the light of Oceanus’s discourse which comes later in the poem, we feel sure that Saturn’s reasoning is fallacious. His rule must have been benign, as he says. But what makes him think that his successor would not prove even more benign or that his successor would not do greater good to the universe than Saturn himself done? The continuity of Saturn’s rule would have meant stagnation. There is no end to the good that can be done to mankind, and there is no end to the evolutionary process so far as the universe as a whole is concerned. This is the valuable lesson which we are expected to draw from Keats’s poem as it stands. The narrative about the war between the defeated gods and the victorious ones, and especially the encounter between Hyperion .and Apollo, is certainly not complete; but Keats’s message is complete, though the poem is a fragment.
Oceanus’s View Reinforced By Clymene’s Experience
                The lesson urged by Oceanus is reinforced by Clymens’s account of her strange experience. She had suddenly heard a new kind of music which had enchanted her. The new “blissful golden melody” which she had suddenly heard had made her “sick with joy and grief at once”. She had felt joyous because of the repturous notes of music which she had heard, but she had felt sad at the thought that her own music had been superseded by this new music. She had fled from the spot but had been chased by a sweet voice which kept uttering the name of Apollo. Clymene’s experience implies that a new musician has appeared on the scene and will now dethrone the existing deity governing the realm of music. This again is a case of evolutionary or revolutionary change. Clymene herself is reconciled to this change, but gods like Enceladus are not.
Enceladus’s Militancy, Unjustified
                Enceladus refers to Oceanus as “over-wise” and to Clymene as “over-foolish”. Enceladus is still in a defiant mood, and in his imagination is hurling mountains upon his enemies. Enceladus speaks scornfully about Oceanus, calling him “thou sham monarch of the waves.” Enceladus is burning with the fire of revenge. He is not only sorry because the Titans have lost their realms but he is even more sorry at the loss of those days of peace and “slumberous calm” which the Titans used to enjoy during Saturn’s reign. Enceladus argues that Hyperion is still undefeated, and that there is still a hope for the Titans to win a victory over the Olympians-and to re-establish themselves as the rulers of the universe. The point here is that Enceladus’s whole approach is wrong because Enceladus has not been able to grasp the truth contained in the speech of Oceanus. Enceladus is an uncompromising militant. He would learn his lesson only when Hyperion too is overthrown.
An Epic of Beauty’s Triumph: The Meaning of Beauty
                One other point that deserves attention in connection with the theme of this poem is that beauty is Oceanus’s criterion of superiority. The eternal law, according to Oceanus, is that “first in beauty should be first in might.” now, we can understand the idea of evolutionary progress and we can understand also the revolutionary idea; but it is somewhat difficult to understand the concept of the progressive change brought about by superior beauty. Science teaches us the theory of evolution. This biological theory needs no explanation. We can also understand evolutionaty development or revolutionary changes in the political, social, and cultural life of mankind. History provides countless examples of such changes. In fact, changes of this kind are taking place before our very eyes. But what does Oceanus or Keats mean by saying that first in beauty should be first in might? Well, this poem is not a scientific discourse. Keats wants us to look at the evolutionary development or progress with the eyes of a poet and not with the eyes of a scientist. For Keats, beauty was the supreme consideration. Beauty was the supreme power in his eyes. Beauty was a magnificent obsession with him. “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever”, he had written. Later he was to write:
                Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Of course, beauty does not merely mean physical attractiveness. For the mature Keats, beauty came to be identified with truth. Beauty has thus intellectual and philosophical connotations in Keats’s eyes, Truth implies all the facts of life in the aggregate, all the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of all mankind. It is only a man with a vast vision who can accept the entire range of the life of the universe, including the life of mankind, and who can be said to have a capacity to appreciate beauty. Interpreted thus, Oceanus’s criterion of beauty does not conflict basically with the scientific view of evolution. Thus considered, Keats’s poem becomes an epic of beauty’s triumph. Keats’s approach to the whole issue is aesthetic, as is con-finned by the experience of Clymene who represents the artistic temperament.
The Relevance of Apollo’s Deification in Book III
                A discussion of the theme’ of the Hyperion cannot end here. There is something more to it. While the first two books form a compact unit, Book III marks an abrupt transition which mars the structure of the poem. Book III contains an account of the experience by which Apollo was transformed into a god. Now, if Keats had been able to complete the poem, this particular episode would have fallen into place. After describing the process of Apollo’s deification, Keats would have gone on to describe a second war between the Titans (with Hyperion and Enceladus at their head) and the Olympians (with Jove as their leader). The central episode in this second conflict would have been an encounter between Hyperion and Apollo in which Apollo would have won, not by the force of arms but by the sheer power of his enchanting music. Perhaps, Hyperion, overwhelmed by that music, would have surrendered as readily to his opponent as Oceanus had previously surrendered to Neptune. But the poem breaks off at the point where Apollo has been transfigured and deified.
A Second Theme of the Poem: The Symbolism of Apollo’s Deification
                The process by which Apollo becomes a god is itself significant because here we have, in additions to its obvious meaning, a symbolic description by Keats of Keats’s own emergence as a mature poet. In symbolic terms, Apollo is Keats himself. Apollo has been feeling afflicated by a vague grief and has often wept because of this grief. When he comes into contact with Mnemosyne, he experiences a strange exhiliration and asks her several questions regarding the nature of this universe and the divinity who controls the powers of Nature. He speaks to her of his “aching ignorance”. Mnemosyne makes no reply. Apollo thereupon suddenly discovers a wonderful meaning in the expression of her silent face. Her face proves to be a source of infinite knowledge to him and he says that this new knowledge which he has derived from her face makes him think that he has become a god. He reads in her face names, deeds, gray legends, dire events, rebellions, majesties, sovran voices, agonies, creations and destroyings. Thereupon he is shaken by convulsions and tortured by an indescribable agony. He experiences the agony of a dying man but in the very moment of his death he is reborn. He dies into life, and he is reborn as a celestial being. Apollo has become a god. In symbolic terms, Keats the poet has attained matarity and the ripeness of his poetic powers. Keats has acquired “the lore of good and ill” and, leaving the world of Flora and old Pan far behind, he has passed to the nobler world of human suffering and human strife. Now he will write truer and higher poetry than before (and the great odes were a specimen of that poetry). It is to be noted that Mnemosyne’s face contains all life, past, present, and even to come. She is the eternal existence of the universe, as it were. She belongs to the old order, and also to the new, for she is immanent and ever­lasting. She is a mirror of all the essential facts of life—”agonies, creations and destroyings.” And of her Keats had dreamed. She was “the vast idea” that had come to him that night as he slept on Leighs Hunt’s sofa. She had become the “might abstract idea of beauty in all things”; and Keats had struggled through “purgatory blind” for a vision of her, face to face. Now he had achieved what he sought, and “knowledge enormous mode a god of him” through the pain of a death and a second birth. Keats has become a true poet through a comprehension of history and change human suffering.
A Complete Poem in One Sense
                Thus Hyperion is a complete poem so far as its basic themes are concerned. What is not complete is the story of the conflict between Hyperion and Apollo.

Hyperion”, An Epic of Beauty’s Triumph

First in Beauty Should Be First in Might
The fragmentary epic, Hyperion, is concerned chiefly with beauty. A war in heaven was the basis for the narrative which Keats had planned to write. An older race of gods known as the Titans had been overthrown by the younger Olympians.

Hyperion, the sun-god, after whom the poem was named, had been visualized by Keats as the champion of the Titan cause because he was the only one of them yet undefeated when the poem begins. The main action of the poem would almost certainly have been the overthrow and supersession of Hyperion by the Olympian Apollo. The funda­mental theme, then, is the war which had taken place between two classes of gods. From the outset we find ourselves in the company of the defeated Titans, experiencing their bitter sorrow and asking their questions; and the centrality of beauty is asserted precisely here, because the only theatrical answer to the question why the older gods have suffered at the hands of the younger gods is that beauty should triumph and that in the present case it has actually triumphed. The victorious Olympians are more beautiful than the Titans; there is no more to be said on this point because “it is the eternal law that first in beauty should be first in might.” This one statement made by Oceanus not only puts beauty at the centre of the poem but interweaves it with pain by denning a metaphysic of suffering out of beauty’s triumph. To the riddle of the defeat of the Titans, the solution is that the less beautiful must be superseded and pushed into the background. In this poem Keats simultaneo­usly vindicates the beautiful and gives his explanation of the pain and suffering in this world. In his view the pain and suffering of the world are the price of beauty’s victory. The survival of the fittest is the tune to which creation dances; this constitutes the world’s outward drama and equally its inner sense. The greater or the fitter is one who is the more beautiful because Nature’s law is that first in beauty should be first in might.

The Problem of Suffering and Pain
The poem opens with a striking picture of Saturn sitting still and silent after his defeat. He is joined by the goddess Thea (who was the wife of Hyperion, the sun-god). She rouses Saturn from his stupor in order to stress his total discomfiture and to say that she has to offer no explanation of these recent events and that she has no comfort to offer either. “I have no comfort for thee, no, not one”, she pointedly says. In reply, Saturn asks her if his feeble shape is really his and if his voice is really his. In other words, through Saturn’s questioning, Keats raises the problem of human suffering (even though the questioner is a god). Thea only under­stands that disaster has befallen the Titans. Saturn only understands the pain of defeat. Both of them want to understand more; and Keats now sends them together to that sad place where Cybele and the bruised Titans sat in mourning. Some of the defeated Titans are then named and described, whereafter Saturn proceeds to address them. His speech goes deeper still into the sheer puzzle of pain. He puts it thus:
                               Not in my own sad breast,
Which is its own great judge and searcher out,
Can I find reason why ye should be thus:                   
(II, 129-31)
At the end of his speech he turns to Oceanus whose “severe content”, which is the result of thought and musing, has surprised him and from whom he now seeks guidance.
Stoic Resignation to the Truth
It is Oceanus who, in his reply to Saturn’s question, urges his fellow-gods to see their Titanic woes as part of a process called beauty’s triumph. Whether the process justifies the pain involved is not easy to decide. Oceanus proclaims his message to be “the pain of truth”; but at the same time he asserts that those who take his message to be painful are foolish. The dominant note of the speech of Oceanus is Stoic resignation to the truth rather than welcome of it. He concludes with the following advice:
Receive this truth, and let it be your balm.
But there is no suggestion that pain can be transformed into something else. In other words, pain and suffering remain pain and suffering, and cannot undergo any mystic transformation. All that Oceanus can say is that the defeated gods have to suffer but that they are suffering in a good cause. So his mandate is that the suffe­rers must achieve calm and tranquility.
The Superior Beauty of the New Sea-God and of the New God of Music
Oceanus cites his own individual defeat as an illustration of the general principle which he has just laid down. He refers to the new Olympian god who has overthrown him. He speaks about the new god of the sea in ardent terms, praising the beauty and the glow of the new god. Oceanus was so impressed by the new god that he voluntarily relinquished his position as the sovereign of his empire and came away from his headquarters, so to speak. Follow­ing Oceanus, the goddess Clymene expresses her own sense of bewilderment but then goes on to speak of Apollo in the same eloquent and glowing terms in which Oceanus had spoken about his successor. Says she:
A voice came sweeter, sweeter than all tune,
And still it cried, “Apollo ! Young Apollo!”
I fled, it follow’d me, and cried “Apollo”!                   
(II, 292-94)
Thus the reference to Apollo emphasizes a singing voice of the utmost beauty. And the beauty is, of course, the point, because the final triumph of beauty will be the triumph of Apollo; and in this way Oceanus’s assertion of the eternal law of Nature will be vindicated. No doubt, Enceladus, who speaks after Clymene, rejects both her opinion and the view of Oceanus. Enceladus describes Oceanus as “over-wise” and he describes Clymene as “over-foolish”. Enceladus speaks in a militant tone, and he relies on Hyperion to come to the rescue of the defeated Titans. But the event described in Book III, in which Apollo achieves his deification, clearly shows that Enceladus’s defiance and militancy would come to nothing, if the poem had been continued, it would have described the conflict between Hyperion and the new god Apollo, and it would have described the triumph of the latter who is more beautiful by virtue of his music and melody the like of which had never before been heard in the universe.

Critical Comments on “Hyperion, A Fragment”: Book by Book

Three Divisions of Book I
The poem opens in in medias res (that is, in the middle of the story). Keats does not begin his poem from the very beginning. In other words, he does not go back to the origin of the conflict between the old gods (namely the Titans) and the new gods (namely the Olympians). He starts the poem at the point where the Titans have al­ready been defeated by the Olympians and have been dethroned.

In other words, Keats plunges into the story at the point when the defeat­ed Titans, feeling grief-stricken on account of their dethronement, sit or lie in a state of listlessness or stupor or despair. Book I falls into three parts. The first part describes the grief of Saturn and of Thea, and their decision to join their fellow-Titans who have assembled in a cave among the rocks far away from where Saturn has been sitting silent and “quiet as a stone”. The second part deals with the apprehensions and fears of the Titan Hyperion, the god of the sun, who is still the master of his empire and who yet retains his full authority over his realm. The third part of the poem contains Coelus’s exhorta­tions to Hyperion, and the latter’s departure for the earth to meet his fellow-gods, leaving the planet of the sun to be looked after by Coelus.

An Epic Poem: Its Exalted Theme and Exalted Style
Hyperion is an epic poem. An epic has always an exalted theme which is treated in an exalted style. Now the theme of Hyperion is the war between the Titans and the Olympians and the outcome of that war. The characters in this poem are supernatural beings. They are the displaced deities who had been governing the various forces of Nature, and the new deities who have taken their places. However, we do not meet any of the new deities either in Book I or in Book II, and the only new deity, namely Apollo, who is introduced to us, appears in Book III. Books I and II deal wholly with the displaced gods. In any case, the poem does have an exalted theme. The manner in which Thea is described, for instance, shows that we are not dealing with human beings but with superhuman beings. By comparison with the goddess Thea, even the tall Amazon would have appeared to be a mere pigmy. Thea was such a huge and power­ful deity that she could have seized Achilles by his hair and twisted his neck; she could have stopped with one finger the revolving wheel to which Ixion had been tied; her face was as large as that of the Memphian Sphinx. Subsequently, Hyperion too is described in the same manner; he too is a god of gigantic proportions. But, although the gods have been described on a grand scale, their passions and feelings are similar to those of human beings. The style of the poem is exalted, too. The poem has been admired widely for the sublimity of its style and the solemnity of its blank verse.
Pathos, The Keynote of Book I
Pathos is the keynote of Book I. Most of the situations in Book I arouse our deepest sympathies for the sufferers who are gods and goddesses, no ordinary human beings, but who feel as wretched and miserable in their defeat as human beings would in theirs. Saturn sits silent with his right hand “nerveless, listless, dead, unsceptred”; and his “realmless eyes” are closed. This is a moving picture of the god who was once the ruler of the whole universe. Then there is the moving picture of Thea who comes to meet Saturn in his misery. She has one hand on that aching spot where beats the human heart; though an immortal, she is experiencing cruel pain. She speaks to Saturn some mourning words, telling him that she has brought no comfort for him. The pathos of the situation deepens when she reminds him that he has lost heaven, that he has lost the earth, and that he no longer has any authority over the ocean. “All the air is emptied of thine hoary majesty”, she says. When Saturn opens his eyes and speaks to Thea, his speech further stirs our sympathy for him. He laments the fact that he has been dethroned completely and that he has even lost his identity and his real self. He asks, in words which are poignant, whether it would be possible for him to regain his empire. He would like to know if he can find another chaos from which he may fashion another universe to govern. The account of the fears and apprehensions of Hyperion is another pathetic element in the poem. Hyperion feels deeply dejected by the ill-omens which he has witnessed; and he would like to know what his fate is going to be. He asks if he too is going to fall like Saturn and if he is going to be deprived of the comforts and peace of his “lucent empire”. He thinks that he might lose “the blaze, the splendour, and the symmetry”, and that he would then see only darkness, “death and darkness”.
The pathos of the situation of the Titans is brought out by Coelus when, addressing Hyperion, he says that his eldest son Saturn had been overthrown and that Saturn had appealed to him for his help but in vain because he (Coelus) was in no position to offer any help to any of his children. Coelus then asks if Hyperion too is threatened with a similar fate. Here are the relevant lines addressed by Coelus to Hyperion:
I saw my first-born tumbled from his throne!
To me his arms were spread, to me his voice
Found way from forth the thunders round his head!
Pale wox I, and in vapours hid my face.
Art thou, too, near such doom?                                 (Lines 323-27)
The pathos of the speech made by Coelus becomes more keen when Coelus asks Hyperion to go down to the earth and do something for Saturn who is feeling miserable:
                To the earth!       
For there thou wilt find Saturn, and his woes.
The Feeling of Awe, Aroused in Our Minds
Another dominant emotion aroused by Book I is that of awe. A feeling of terror is created in our minds when we read the account of Hyperion entering his palace in a state of indignation:
He enter’d, but he enter’d full of wrath ;
His flaming robes stream’d out beyond his heels,
And gave a roar, as if of earthly fire,
That scar’d away the meek ethereal Hours
And made their dove-wings tremble.                       (Lines 213-17)
The feeling of terror in our minds is heightened when Hyperion declares that he would drive away Jove from his throne and reinstate Saturn:
No, by Tellus and her briny robes!
Over the fiery frontier of my realms
I will advance a terrible right arm
Shall scare that infant thunderer, rebel Jove,
And bid old Saturn take his throne again.             
(Lines 240-50)
Graphic Descriptive Passages, and Vivid Pictures
Book I illustrates also Keats’s descriptive powers. There is plenty of graphic description here. The most striking passage in this respect is the one in which the palace of Hyperion has been described. Hyperion’s bright palace is “bastioned with pyramids of glowing gold, and touched with shade of bronzed obelisks” This palace has many courts, arches, domes, and fiery galleries. The curtains in this palace are made of clouds supplied by Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. Keats gives us, indeed, an elaborate and impressive description of this palace. Equally graphic is the description of Hyperion rushing out of his palace to the eastern gates where “he breathed fierce breath against the sleepy portals, cleared them of heavy vapours, and burst them wide suddenly on the ocean’s chilly streams’“. This description continues with a reference to the planet of the sun, the orb of fire, spinning round m dark clouds and radiating its dazzling rays. Apart from these elaborate descriptions, we have a large number of brief but vivid pictures in this Book. At the very outset there is a striking picture of the silence and stillness prevailing around Saturn so that a leaf falling from a tree down to the ground remains where it has fallen, without moving in the least:
No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer’s day
Robs not one light seed from the feather’d grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.            
(Lines 7-10)
Another vivid picture is that of Saturn and Thea continuing to sit together, silent and still for one whole month, and looking like statues:
One moon, with alteration glow, had shed
Her silver seasons four upon the night,
And still these two were postured motionless,
Like natural sculpture in cathedral cavern;
The frozen God still counchant on the earth,
And the sad Goddess weeping at his feet.                  (Lines 83-88)
Another notable picture, equally vivid, is that of the various omens which frighten human beings. The ill-omens which Hyperion witnessed were, however, of a different kind. The omens in his case were not those which scare human beings:
Not at dog’s howl, or gloom-bird’s hated screech,
Or the familiar visiting of one
Upon the first toll of his passing-bell,
Or prophesyings of the midnight lamp.                  (Lines 171-74)
Similes, Extended Ones and Short Ones
There are some very striking similes too in this Book. A few of these similes are of an elaborate and extended kind, which are characteristic of an epic. Here is an example of the extended simile:
As when, upon a tranced summer-night,
Those green-rob’d senators of mighty woods,
Tali oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir,
Save from one gradual solitary gust
Which comes from the silence, and dies off,
As if the ebbing air had but one wave;
So came these words and went.                                   (Lines 72-79)
There are a number of short similes also in this Book. The winged attendants of Hyperion standing in clusters are compared to anxious soldiers who gather on wide plains when an earthquake has shaken their fortresses and towers. The feeling of agony which creeps through Hyperion’s body gradually is compared to a lithe serpent, vast and muscular, moving slowly forward, with head and neck convulsed on account of over-strained might. Hyperion, plunging into the deep night, is compared to a diver plunging into the pearly seas.
Like to a diver in the pearly seas,
Foreward he stoop’d over the airy shore,
And plung’d all noiseless into the deep night.   (Lines 355-58)
Each of these similes is a vivid picture as well.
Several Sections of Book II
While Book I is in the nature of an exposition, Book II develops both the argument and the action of the story, and is important in respect of characterization as well as ideas. This Book is divisible into several sections which may thus be identified:
(1)             The opening lines contain a vivid description of the cave where the defeated Titans had taken shelter.
(2)             This is followed by a description of the assembled gods themselves. Each of the gods is named and introduced to us briefly with reference to his or her principal feature or characteristic. Almost each of them is individualized.
(3)             The arrival of Saturn and Thea at this cave is then described, with particular reference to Saturn’s mood of despondency which deepens as Saturn nears the cave.
(4)             Saturn then delivers a speech to the assembled gods, expressing his puzzlement at their mood of hopelessness and despair in the face of their defeat. He seeks the opinion of Oceanus who is regarded by him as a thinker and philosopher and who should therefore be in a position to give some sound advice to Saturn in this common calamity.
(5)             Oceanus, in his reply, says that the defeat which the Titans have suffered at the hands of the Olympians was inevitable and follows Nature’s law. He urges the defeated Titans, and especially Saturn, to reconcile themselves to their dethronement and to accept the inevitable.
(6)             Then the goddess Clymene speaks. She gives to the Titans an account of her experience in the woods when she had heard a music which she had never heard before, a music which seemed to supersede all the melodies which had ever been heard in the universe before. She had fled from that music but had been chased by a sweet voice which had again and again uttered the name of Apollo, “the morning-bright Apollo”.
(7)           Enceladus’s reaction to these two speeches, one by Oceanus and the other by Clymene, is then described. Enceladus is not in favour of submitting to the new powers, represented by Jove, which have now begun to rule the universe. He counsels the Titans to undertake to fight against the new gods in order to regain the realms which they have lost.
(8)           Finally, in this Book, we have a description of the arrival of the radiant Hyperion who has come, in obedience to Coelus’s advice, to see with his own eyes the sad condition of his fellow-Titans in the cave and to help them regain their lost realms, if he can.
The Epic Strain
The epic strain of the poem continues in Book II. The gods and goddesses are still the characters with whom we are concerned. These gods and goodesses are now given a concrete and visible life, even though they are in a mood of despondency and are feeling lifeless. Most of the gods present are individualized by means of brief pictures of their visible symbols or characteristics, and some of them are further differentiated from one another by means of the speeches they make. A reference is made also to the gods who are absent either because they have been put into prisons or because they are wandering about aimlessly in the world at large. The description of the various gods and goddesses is awe-inspiring despite the fact that they are in a state of deep despair. It is noteworthy that, although the characters in the poem are supernatural beings, yet their feelings and emotions are similar to those of human beings. Sadness and hopelessness are the two dominant emotions which they all experience. But, besides these emotions, they also experience rage, fear, anxiety, revenge, remorse, and even hope (the hope of regaining their kingdoms). The style of Book II is as exalted as that of Book I.
The Concept of Evolutionary Progress in Oceanus’s Speech
Oceanus’s speech is one of the two most important passages in the entire poem, the other being the passage describing the deifica­tion of Apollo in Book III. Oceanus’s speech is the key to one of the dominant themes of the whole poem. Oceanus justifies the defeat of the Titans at the hands of the Olympians on the ground that the Olympians surpass the Titans in the same way as the Titans had surpassed the original chaos and the primeval darkness which the Titans had superseded. Oceanus tells his fellow-Titans that an endurance of all naked truths and the ability to accept the facts calmly represent the top of sovereignty. He wants them to understand that the law of Nature demands the supersession of the beautiful and strong by the more beautiful and the more strong. The eternal law, says Oceanus, is “that first in beauty should be first in might”. He tells Saturn that the latter was not the beginning and is not the end. Some of the more important lines from the speech of Saturn are worth quoting :
We fall by course of Nature’s law, not force
Of thunder, or of Jove.                                                 (Lines 181-82)
And first, as thou wast not the first of powers,
So art thou not the last; it cannot be:
Thou art not the beginning nor the end.                (Lines 188-90)
O folly! For to bear all naked truths,
And to envisage circumstance, all calm,
That is the top of sovereignty.                                     (Lines 203-5)
So on our heels a fresh perfection treads,
A power more strong in beauty, born of us
And fated to excel us, as we pass
In glory that old darkness.                                         (Lines 21-2-15)
For ‘tis the eternal law
That first in beauty should be first in might:
Yea, by that law, another race may drive
Our conquerors to mourn as we do now.               
(Lines 228-31)
Oceanus’s speech contains the concept of evolutionary progress. The world can never remain the same. Change is the law of life. Good must give way to better; the strong must give way to the stronger; the beautiful must yield to the more beautiful. That is how the world has reached its present stage of development. If there were no change, there would be stagnation. In the political, social, and cultural worlds, as well as in the world of Nature and in the realms of animal life and plant life, change and develop­ment are inevitable and also desirable. Tennyson afterwards expressed this idea in one of his poems when he wrote: “The old order changeth yielding place to new.”
Graphic Descriptions and Vivid Pictures
Keats’s descriptive gift finds a striking illustration in this Book also. First of all, there is the graphic description of the cave where the defeated gods have taken shelter. It was a den where no light could shine on the tears of the Titans. It was a place where the Titans could not hear even their own groans because of “the solid roar of thunderous waterfalls.” It was a place where the rocks, touching each other’s tops, ‘‘made fit roofing to this nest of woe.” Then we have the description of the gods themselves. This description consists of a series of closely linked pictures of the individual gods and goddesses. There was, for instance, Creus whose ponderous iron mace lay by his side and who had shattered a rock with that weapon. There was Iapetus who held in his hand a dead serpent, with its forked tongue squeezed from its throat. Iapetus had strangled the serpent because it had failed to spit poison into the eyes of the victorious Jove. There was Cottus who lay prone, his chin uppermost, as though in pain. Near him was Asia who had cost her mother keener birth-pangs than any of her sons had caused her. Asia was seeing visions of her future glory, and was thinking of the temples which would be built in her honour in the tittles to come. Above all, there was the giant Enceladus, once tame and mild but now furious and wrathful. In his imagina­tion he was hurling mountains in the second war which, he thought, would be fought between the Titans and the new gods. And then, of course, there is the graph c description of the radiant personality of Hyperion who arrives to meet his fellow-gods. Like the previous description of Hyperion in all his splendour and glory, this descrip­tion too is very impressive. The radiance shed by Hyperion spreads all around him, making every place, every spot, every rock, every corner look bright. Here is part of this description conveying the radiance and splendour of the sun-god:
Till suddenly a splendour, like the morn,
Pervaded all the beetling gloomy steeps,
All the sad spaces of oblivion,
And every gulf, and every chasm old,
And every height, and every sullen depth,
Voiceless, or hoarse with loud tormented streams :
And all the everlasting cataracts,
And all the headlong torrents far and near,
Mantled before in darkness and huge shade,
Now saw the light and made it terrible.
It was Hyperion:                                                           (Lines 357-67)
Extended Similes, and Brief Similes
There are a number of notable similes in Book II as there were in Book I. Again we have both kinds of similes, of the extended kind which are typical of epic poetry, and the brief ones. Here is an extended simile, comparing the increased sadness of Saturn to that of a mortal man on approaching a mournful house:
As with us mortal men, the laden heart
Is persecuted more, and fever’d more,
When it is nighing to the mournful house
Where other hearts are sick of the same bruise ;
So Saturn, as he walk’d into the midst,
Felt faint, and would have sunk among the rest,    (Lines 101-6)
The psychological truth contained in these lines is also noteworthy. Here is another extended simile:
There is a roaring in the bleak-grown pines
When Winter lifts his voice; there is a noise
Among immortals when a god gives sign,
With hushing finger, how he means to load
His tongue with the full weight of utterless thought,
With thunder, and with music, and with pomp:
Such noise is like the roar of bleak-grown pines;
Which, when it ceases in this mountain’d world,
No other sound succeeds; but ceasing here,
Among these fallen, Saturn’s voice therefrom                              
Grew up like organ, that begins, anew                                            
Its strain,                                                                        
(Lines 116-27)
These lines, which contain a wonderful Nature-picture are intended to bring out a contrast rather than to establish a comparison, but the extended picture meant to emphasize the contrast is certainly remarkable. At the conclusion of the speech made by Clymene we are told that her voice at the end was drowned by the overwhelming roar of Enceladus just as a timid stream flowing slowly is ultimately lost in the ocean:
So far her voice flow’d on, like timorous brook
That, lingering along a pebbled coast,
Doth fear to meet the sea: but sea it met,
And shudder’d; for the overwhelming voice
Of huge Enceladus swallow’d it in wrath:
The ponderous syllables, like sullen waves
In the half-glutted hollows of reef-rocks,
Came booming thus,                                                      (Lines 300-7)
Each of these similes, as already pointed out, contains a vivid Nature-picture. Then there are the brief similes. The imprisoned gods, with their clenched teeth and “all their limbs locked up” are compared to “veins of metal, crampt and screwed”. Enceladus in his tame and mild state is compared to a ‘‘grazing oxunworried in the meads.” The melodies coming from Apollo and falling upon the ears of Clymene are compared to “pearl beads dropping suddenly from their string”. The shining hoary locks of Saturn are rompared to the bubbling foam around a ship when it sweeps into a bay at midnight.
An Abrupt Deviation from the Main Narrative
Book III is apparently an abrupt deviation from the main narrative which is now kept in abeyance, while Keats proceeds to develop a different theme The theme of Book [II is the process by which Apollo, a human being, is deified and transformed into a god. There is no doubt that, if Keats had continued with the poem and completed it, he would have depicted the conflict which would have inevitably taken place between Apollo and Hyperion, with Apollo gaining a victory over Hyperion and dethroning the only god of the previous generation who had not yet been displaced from his position. In that case Book III would have fallen into its proper place, and the whole poem would have presented a unified structure. As it is. Book HI seems to be a digression. The main narrative stands still, while Keats takes up a different subject altogether.
An Invocation to the Muse
The opening lines of Book III are an invocation to the Muse. Such invocations are permissible in epic poetry. From this invocation it seems that Keats would like to commemorate his brother Tom who had died after a long and lingering illness. Keats calls upon the Muse to leave the Titans to their woes and to turn to a “solitary sorrow”, meaning his own grief over his brother’s death. He asks the Muse to dwell upon a “lonely grief”, namely his own grief. But then he changes his mind and turns his attention to Apollo whom he describes as “the father of all verse”.
Vivid and Sensuous Imgery
The poet’s mood now changes from one of solemnity and sorrow to one of joy; and he is filled with poetic fervour at the thought of Apollo. He calls upon all Nature to put on a fresh glory because he is going to celebrate the greatness of Apollo. Keats would like every rose to glow intensely and to warm the air. He would like all the clouds to float in “voluptuous fleeces” over the hills. He would like all the shells lying on the sand or in the depths of the sea to turn crimson. He would like the maid to “blush keenly” as if she had been surprised by a warm kiss. The sensuous quality of these pictures is noteworthy. He then calls upon the island of Delos to rejoice because the poet is going to deal with Apollo:
Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green,
And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech,
In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song,
And hazels thick, dark-stemm’d beneath the shade:
Apollo is once more the golden theme!                      (Line 24-28)
The poet then goes on to give us a description of how Apollo issued forth from his bower, leaving his fair mother and his twin-sister asleep, and how, walking ankle-deep through the lilies of the valley, he reached the banks of a stream when the nightangale had just ceased its singing, when only a few stirs were left in the sky, and when the thrush had begun its serene singing. Then comes the follow­ing beautiful picture:
Throughout all the isle There was no covert, no retired cave
Unhaunted by the murmurous notice of waves,
Though scarcely heard in many a green recess,       
(Line 38-41)
The Deification[1] of Apollo
All this was the prelude. We then come to the real theme of Book III. As Apollo stands weeping on the banks of the stream, an awful goddess suddenly appears before him. This encounter between Apollo and the goddess, who is no other than Mnemosyne, is a crucial stage in the development and ripening of Apollo’s genius as a poet-singer. A first Apollo feels perplexed, not knowing who this goddess is. She confirms his vague feeling that he had dreamed of her and says that she had placed a golden lyre by his side when he was asleep She then informs him that it was from that instrument that he had been able to produce the wonderful music which the whole universe had heard with untiring ears. Next, she asks him the reason for his weeping. Apollo now suddenly realizes that this god­dess is Mnemosyne, and says that there is nothing that he can tell her because she knows everything about him. Now it is his turn to ask her certain questions. He would like to know why he is so unhappy, and he would like her to enlighten him about the nature of this universe, about the nature of the stars and the moon and about the nature of the divinity which governs this universe. He speaks of his “aching ignorance” which makes him miserable. The goddess, who has given up her allegiance to the old gods for the sake of this budding genius who is going to attain the maturity of his poetic powers, remains mute. But Apollo is now able to read a wondrous lesson” in her silent face. Her face reveals to Apollo the accumulated experience, knowledge, and wisdom of all the past ages. Having come into a possession of all that store of knowledge and experience visible in her face, Apollo feels that he is on the way to become a god. But, first, let us see what he reads in the face of this goddess:
Names, deeds, gray legends, dire events, rebellions,
Majesties, sovran voices, agonies,
Creations and destroyings, all at once
Pour into the wide hollows of my brain,
And deify me, as if some blithe wine
Or bright elixir peerless I had drunk,
And so become immortal,. . . .                                     (Line 114-20)
Apollo’s whole body is now shaken by “wild commotions”. He seems like a man struggling at the gate of death, or like one who is taking leave of pale immortal death and, with a pang, dies into life.[2] Apollo goes through an agonizing experience at the end of which he shrieks with joy and ecstasy. He has now become a god.
The Allegorical Signifiance of Apollo’s Transformation
Now, this passage describing the transformation of Apollo from a mortal human being into an immortal god has to be studied at two levels. Firstly, Apollo will now be in a position to challenge the supremacy of Hyperion, the god of song and poetry, as well as the god of the sun, who still retains his empire while the other old gods have already been dethroned. The strife between a new god, Apollo, and the old god Hyperion, will end in Apollo’s triumph, so that the process of the dethronement of the old generation of gods will be completed. This would, of course, have been the direction which the poem would have taken if Keats had gone on with it in order to complete it. The underlying theme of the poem as a whole would then have been the concept of evolutionary progress of mankind in all fields of human life, as well as of the universe as a whole. That would have been, and still is, the symbolic significance of the poem if approached in an objective manner. But there is another level at which we can study Book III, and that is the subjective level. On the subjective level, Book III is an allegorical account of Keats’s view of his own development as a poet. If Apollo’s insight into the essentials of life makes a god of him, Keats’s sympathetic understanding of the realities of life makes a true poet of him. Keats, the poet, would no longer be satisfied with a world of imagination. He has come into contact with the stark reality of human life. The lingering death of his brother is one of the circumstances which have led to the deepening of his sensibilities. He would now like to write realistic poetry dealing with human sorrow and human suffering, and he would describe the wisdom which comes from human tragedies. Apollo’s encounter with Mnemosyne and his transfiguration are thus an allegorical representation of Keats’s emergence as a true poet, as a poet who would now deal with the truths of life and the reality of human suffering rather than try to escape from this actual world into a world of fancies.
No Lowering of the Emotional Pitch in Book III
Book III is written in the same epic style in which Books I and II had been written. There is no lowering of the emotional pitch. If anything, the pitch rises somewhat because the poet has now involved himself in the story which he had been writing. He has infused his own personality into that of Apollo, thus making his poem doubly interesting. Of course, we cannot go into the question of how Keats would have gone on with the poem in case he had decided to complete it. But this much is certain that the poem, apart from being an allegory of the concept of evolutionary progress, would also have been an allegory of his own mind and soul. In fact, the personal allegory is completed already, while the other allegory remained to be completed.

“Hyperion, A Fragment”: A Summary, Book By Book

Saturn’s Despondency After His Defeat
The Titans were defeated by the Olympians in a war which had started when the Olympians rebelled against the authority of the Titans who had been ruling the universe ever since their conquest of Chaos and Darkness.

Saturn was the chief of the Titans, while Jove or Jupiter was the supreme leader of the Olympians. The grey-haired Saturn had, after his defeat, taken shelter in a remote and shady place in a valley, where he now sat, quiet as a stone. Perfect silence prevailed around him. He was feeling absolutely listless, arid his right hand lay, nerveless, on the ground, looking like the hand of a dead body. There was no longer the divine rod of authority in his hand. He sat there in a state of deep despondency, with his eyes closed.

A Visit By Thea
It seemed that no force would be able to wake up Saturn from his trance. But there did come somebody to wake him up. The visitor was goddess Thea, the wife of the sun-god, Hyperion. She too was a member of the defeated party, and she too was grief-stricken. She woke up Saturn from his listlessness and wanted to know how he was feeling. She told him that she had brought no comfort for him and that she was well aware that he had lost all his power and his authority. She told him that he could continue sleeping and that she would sit at his feet and weep.
Thea’s Suggestion, Accepted By Saturn
Saturn opened his eyes and, looking around him, realized that he was now a deposed monarch who had lost all his kingdom. He told Thea that he had not only lost his empire but his identity and his real self also. He asked her if it would be possible for him to regain his empire. He said that, if it had been possible for him to find another chaos somewhere, he would have created another universe out of it, just as another power had originally created a universe from the primeval Chaos. In reply, Thea suggested that he should visit his fellow-Titans who had taken refuge at a place to which she could escort him. She wanted that Saturn should rejoin his defeated fellow-Titans and comfort them. Saturn accepted her suggestion, and they both set out on their journey.
The Fears of the Undefeated Hyperion, and His Resolve
Some of the defeated Titans had been captured by the victorious gods and been put into prisons. A few of the other Titans were wandering about in the world at large in a disconsolate condition. But the majority of them had taken shelter at the particular place where Thea was now taking Saturn. However, there was one Titan who had still not been defeated and who stills held sway over his sphere. He was Hyperion, the god of the sun. But, although Hyperion, who lived in a splendid and radiant palace and who commanded the blazing planet of the sun, was still sovereign in his own kingdom, he had begun to feel mentally disturbed by certain ill-omens which seemed to indicate that even he could not feel secure and that his authority might also be threatened. The ill-omens almost unnerved Hyperion, but he was able to overcome his fear and, gathering all his strength and will-power, he declared that he would use his terrible right arm to infuse terror into the heart of Jove who had rebelled against the authority of Saturn and that he would even succeed in restoring Saturn’s throne to Saturn.
Hyperion, Urged By Coelus to Go and Meet the Defeated Titans
There were still a few hours before the sun was due to rise. Hyperion had already prepared himself to start the day’s journey. And, though he was impatient to begin the day, he could not commence his task before the due hour. He therefore lay down to while away the few hours which still remained. Although he had formed a strong resolution to fight against Jove, yet his mind was not at ease. The fear of the danger which threatened his supremacy still weighed upon his mind. In this state of mind he heard a voice whispering into his ears. It was the voice of his aged father, Coelus (or Uranus) who now spoke to him from somewhere in heaven. This is what the aged god, Uranus, said to Hyperion:
“You are the brightest of my children. You were born under mysterious circumstances, and the mystery of your birth was not revealed even to me and to your mother. You as well as your brothers and sisters are all manifestations of that beauty which pervades the whole universe. It is very unfortunate that a civil war has taken place among the gods and goddesses, as a result of which my eldest son, Saturn, has been defeated and dethroned. I was in no position to give any help to him. You, my son, are still retaining your authority and governing your dominion. I want you to go down to the earth and meet Saturn and his fellow-gods to see what help you can give to them. It is a bad sign that, while you have all lived and governed your kingdoms with dignity, you are all now experiencing such emotions as fear, anger, and hope which are the feelings characteristic of mankind and not of gods.”
At these words, Hyperion got up and, leaving the planet of the sun in the charge of his father who had spoken to him, plunged noise­lessly into the deep night in order to go down to the earth and meet his fellow-Titans.
The Defeated Gods Feeling Miserable
In the meantime, Saturn and Thea had arrived at the place where most of the defeated Titans had taken refuge in a cave among the rocks. As already pointed out, some of the gods and goddesses were in prison where they were being tortured. These included Coeus, Gyges, Briareus, Typhon, Dolor, and Porhyrion. Some others were wandering about aimlessly in the world. They included Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory; and Phoebs, a daughter of the moon-goddess. Those who had taken shelter in this cave among the rocks included Creus, lapetus, Cottus, Caf, Enceladus, Phorcus, Ocaanus, Tethys, Clymsne, Trutnis, Ops. These gods and goddessss included also Asia, the daughter of the mountain-god Caf by his union with Tellus. All the gods and goddesses assembled here were in a most wretched and miserable condition because of their removal from their respective high positions of authority in the universe.
Saturn’s Address to His Fellow-Gods
On arriving at this place, Saturn felt even sadder than before. This god, who had once wielded supreme authority in the universe, was now experiencing such distressing emotions as rage, fear, anxiety, remorse, and revenge. And he experienced not only these emotions but also that of despair. It seemed that Fate had robbed him of his divine powers and infected him with the weaknesses and infirmities of human beings. Under the stress of these emotions, Saturn might have collapsed to the ground but, by chance, he met the eyes of Enceladus of whose exceptional strength and might he was fully aware. Seeing anger in Enceladus’s eyes, Saturn felt invigorated and strengthened. The presence of Enceladus acted as a great stimulus upon him, and so he shouted to the assembled Titans: “Titans, behold your supreme god”. At Saturn’s words some of the gods groaned, some got up on their feet, some shouted, some wept, some wailed; but all of them bowed to Saturn reverently. Saturn had now conquered his feelings of fear and despair, and he spoke in a self-confident manner. Addressing his fellow-gods, he said:
“I do not understand why you should feel so dejected. Neither in my own heart nor in the book of wisdom which I have always kept close to myself, am I able to discover any reason why you should have given up all hope. There have been no portents to show that we are a doomed race. Seeing you in this mood of dejection, I do not know what message I should give to you. If I ask you to arise, you will groan because you are in no mood to fight; if I ask you to cringe to the conqueror (Jove) you will still groan because your self-respect will be hurt. What can I then do? Tell me, my brother-gods, how we can wreak vengeance upon the rebellious gods who have won a victory over us. You, Oceanus, are a deep thinker. What advice can you give me?”
Oceanus’s Reply
Saturn here ended his speech. Oceanus now replied to Saturn’s question. This is what Oceanus said:
“What I have to say should be a source of comfort to you, provided you can find comfort in what is true. The truth is that we have been defeated not by the power of Jove but in accordance with Nature’s law. Great Saturn, you have studied this universe but, having been accustomed to wield unlimited power, you have missed certain small points which lower minds could easily understand. You should realize that, just as you were not the first power to rule the universe, so you are not the last. You are not the beginning, and you are not the end. We all acquired our positions and our authority after the original chaos and the primeval darkness had been conquered. And just as we are fairer than that chaos and that darkness, those who have now become the rulers of the universe are fairer than we are. On our heels a fresh perfection treads, a power more strong in beauty, a power born of us but destined to surpass us just as we surpass the original chaos and the primeval darkness. Besides, it is not a question of conquest; we have not been conquered by Jove and his comrades just as we did not in any sense conquer chaos and darkness; it is just a question of progress which proceeds inevitably according to the law of Nature. We should not resent having been superseded just as the dull soil does not resent the existence of the grand forests which it has itself nourished and fed, and just as a tree does not resent the dove which sits on its branches and sings. We have ourselves begotten those who have now taken our places as the rulers and, in course of time, they too would be ousted by another race because the law of Nature is that “first in beauty should be first in “might”. I have been succeeded on my throne by another god (Neptune) but I am not resentful of him because he is far more impressive in his appearance and far more handsome than I am. I myself bade farewell to my empire in order to make way for him, even though I felt sad to relinquish my authority. Now what I want is that you should understand the principle which is behind our dethronement, and draw comfort from it.”
Clymene’s Account of Her Strange Experience
None of the gods said anything in response to Oceanus’s speech. The only one who now spoke was the goddess Clymene. She said that she wanted to tell the assembly of the gods an experience which she had gone through in the forest and which had convinced her that the gods who had now come into power after displacing the previous rulers of the universe were really superior to their predecessors. She said that, while singing and playing on a musical instrument on the sea-shore, she had suddenly become conscious of a magic influence which seemed to be coming from an island opposite. She had thereupon thrown away her musical instru­ment and started listening to the music which began to come from the same direction. The music which she heard consisted of a succession of melodious sounds which fell upon her ears one after the other like pearl beads dropping suddenly from their string. She had never heard such music before; and it now made her sick with simultaneous feelings of joy and grief. She was filled with joy because this music was rapturous, and she felt sad because this music was superior to any music which she herself could produce. The feeling of grief proved to be stronger than the feeling of joy and, stopping her ears with her hands, shi fled from that place in order not to hear that music any longer. But a voice, sweeter than all music, followed her, crying: “Apallo! Young Apollo! The morning-bright Apollo!” What Clymene meant by describing this experience of hers was that the music of Apollo, who belonged to the new race of rulers, was far superior to the music which could be produced by the Titans.
Enceladus, Opposed to an Attitude of Passivity and Submission
While both Oceanus and Clymene had wanted to convince the defeated gods that the best course for them would be to reconcile themselves to their present state, Enceladus the Giant felt deeply annoyed with what these two speakers had said. Hi regarded the dethronement of the Titans as an unbearable humiliation and he therefore suggested that the Titans should not give way to despair but should make a vigorous effort to regain their kingdoms. He said that he would tell the Titans how they could destroy the power of Jove and how they could once again become the proud rulers of their realms. He said that he could not forget the days of peace and tranquility which he had enjoyed during the period of the rule of the Titans, and that he would like those days to return. Enceladus went on to say that one of the Titans, namely Hyperion, had still not been displaced and that even the defeated Titans could therefore hope to regain their lost empires. After expressing these views, Enceladus said that he was happy to note that his words had produced the desired effect on his listeners.
Hyperion’s Arrival to Meet the Defeated Gods
Just then Hyperion, who had been urged by Coelus (or Uranus) to go down to the earth in order to meet the defeated Titans, arrived at the scene. When Hyperion alighted on a rock near the cave, where the defeated gods were holding their conference, his radiance filled the atmosphere all around. Every gulf, every chasm, every height, and every depth looked bright with the radiance shed by Hyperion. Hyperion looked at the assembled Titans and noted the wretchedness of the dethroned gods who could now, in the light being shed all around by Hyperion, see how miserable they appeared by contrast with him. But Hyperion was in no joyous mood, because the sight of the defeated and miserable gods filled him also with depression. Four of the gods including the fierce Encealdus now got up and advanced to greet Hyperion. Going near him, these four gods shouted the name of Saturn and, in reply, Hyperion answered from the mountain-peak: “Saturn.” Saturn himself at this time was sitting near the mother of all the gods whose face showed no joy on account of the sad fate which had overtaken her progeny.
Keats to Sing About Apollo
At this point Keats deviates from the story of the Titans which he has been narrating and from the role of Hyperion which he has been describing. He thinks of the premature death of his brother Tom and says that he should turn rather to sing about his own sorrow than about the woes of the gods. But he does not then proceed to sing even about his own personal sorrow. He says that he would like to sing about Apollo, “the father of all verse.” The thought of Apollo fills him with a great enthusiasm and joy, and he calls upon all Nature to put on fresh glory in order to join him in celebrating the greatness of Apollo who was born on the island of Delos. He announces to all Nature that “Apollo is once more the golden theme” of his verse. Evidently, Keats’s purpose now is to take up the theme of the dethronement of Hyperion by Apollo. But Apollo is not yet a god. Keats therefore first takes up the theme of how Apollo became a god.
Apollo’s Encounter with an Awful Goddess
When Hyperion stood radiant in the midst of his grief-stricken fellow-Titans, Apollo left his mother and his twin-sister sleeping in their bower and wandered forth in the morning twilight. Walking through the lilies of the valley at that early hour, when the nightangale had just stopped singing and when there were only a few stars left in the sky, Apollo came to a stop on the banks of a stream and suddenly burst into tears. While he stood there weeping, with his golden bow in his hand, an awful goddess came and stood before him. Apollo was surprised to see this mysterious figure who seemed to have come from nowhere. He then realized that he had always been conscious of the presence of this goddess on this island and that he had often heard the sweep of her garments over the fallen leaves as she walked about in the valley and in the forest. He told the goddess that he had either actually seen her before on this island or had dreamed of her. The goddess replied that he had dreamed of her and that, on waking up from his dream, he had found a golden lyre which she had placed for him by his side. From the strings of that lyre he had produced sweet music which the whole universe had heard with both pain and pleasure, realizing that a new kind of music had come into existence.
The Goddess’s Deep Interest in Apollo
The goddess now asked Apollo why he had been weeping and what it was that had been making him so sad. She told him that she had been keeping a watch upon him during his hours of sleep and during his hours of wakefulness ever since his childhood. She said that she had given up her allegiance to the old gods for his sake and for the sake of the new loveliness which he possessed and the new music which he had originated.
Apollo’s “Aching Ignorance”
Thereupon Apollo suddenly realized who this goddess was. He said that her name had suddenly occurred to him and that she must be Mnemosyne. Then he said that his sorrow, which had made him shed tears, was not a mystery to her and that she knew everything about him. He went on to say that there were certain things which he did not understand. He wanted the goddess Mnemosyne to clear his doubts about certain matters. He wanted to know the nature of the stars, the identity of the power behind the forces of Nature, the divinity who ruled the universe, and the reason why he was often overtaken by a melancholy which was so deep as to have a numbing effect on his limbs. He asked her to tell him why he often listened to the sounds of the elements “in fearless yet in aching ignorance.”
The Deification of Apollo, Or Keats’s Emergence as a True Poet
Mnemosyne remained silent. Apollo’s mind was now suddenly illumined by a new discovery. He said that he could read a wonderful lesson in the goddess’s silent face. “Knowledge enormous makes a god of me”, he said. Then he told her what he could read in her face. Her face had brought to him a sudden awareness of “names, deeds, old legends, dire events, rebellions, majesties, sovereign voices, agonies, creations and destroyings.” This new awareness, he said, was like a wine or an elixir which seemed to deify him and make him immortal. As he said these words, keeping his eyes steadfast on Mnemosyne, he experienced wild convulsions which shook his whole body. He underwent an agonizing experience. The agony which he felt was akin to the agony of death. While he was going through this painful ordeal, Mnemosyne kept her arms upraised like one who was making a prophecy. At last Apollo shrieked with joy and ecstasy, and from all his limbs came a glory which showed that he had become a god. Apollo had died into life. Apollo the mortal was dead bat Apollo the god was born. In other words, Apollo had risen to great heights of poetry and music by his contact with Mnemosyne who symbolized all human experience, all experience which mankind had had in the past and an awareness of which is a necessary part of the equipment of a poet. (Mnemosyne represents not only the past of mankind but also the present and even the future. The deification of Apollo means that Keats himself feels that he has become a true poet because of his realization that a keen and sensitive awareness of the reality of all human experience is essential if a poet wants to write true poetry).
Note. Here the poem breaks off.

“Hyperion, A Fragment” A Synopsis

Thea’s Visit to Saturn
The Titans had been defeated by their own offspring, the Olympians, who had risen in revolt against them. Saturn, the leader of the Titans, sat in a valley in a mood of deep dejection. He sat, “quiet as a stone.” He was feeling absolutely listless because of the defeat that he and his fellow-Titans had suffered.

To him came Thea, the wife of the sun-god, Hyperion. She told him that she was feeling as miserable as he on account of the defeat that they had suffered. Saturn said that he had lost not only his empire but his identity and his real self also. Thea said that he should go with her in order to join his fellow-Titans who had taken shelter in a den far away from this valley. Saturn got up to go with her.

Hyperion, the Sun-god, Still Supreme in His Sphere
There was one Titan who had still not been defeated and who still held sway over his sphere. He was Hyperion, the god of the sun. But even he was feeling apprehensive lest he should be overthrown. His anxiety about the possibility of his being dethroned made him rest­less. In this state of mind he heard a voice whispering into his ears. It was the voice of his aged father. Coelus (or Uranus), who now spoke to him from somewhere in heaven. Coelus urged him to go and meet his fellow-gods who had been defeated and who were therefore feeling very despondent. On hearing these words. Hyperion got up and, leaving the planet of the sun, plunged into the deep night in order to go down to the earth and meet his defeated fellow-Titans.
Saturn’s Arrival Among the Defeated Gods
In the meantime Saturn and Thea had arrived at the place where most of the defeated Titans and Giants had taken refuge in a cave among the rocks; On arriving there Saturn felt even sadder than before. He spoke to the defeated Titans about the prevailing state of affairs. He said that he could not understand how and why they had been defeated. Saturn asked the ex-god of the sea, Oceanus, if he could offer any help and guidance to them all.
The Views of Oceanus and Clymene
Oceanus in his reply said that Saturn was neither the beginning nor the end. The Titans had surpassed their parents in almost all respects and had displaced them in order to become the rulers of the universe. Now a new race of gods had proved to be superior to_ the Titans and Giants, and the new generation had therefore every right to overthrow them and to become the rulers of the universe in their place. “A fresh perfection treads on our heels”, said Oceanus. He told his fellow-gods that they should reconcile themselves to the change which had taken place in their lives. He went on to say that it was the eternal law of Nature that “first in beauty should be first in might.” Then the goddess Ceymene spoke. She said that she had heard a music far superior to that with which the Titans had been familiar and which they themselves could produce. What she meant was that in the sphere of music too the Titans had been superseded by a new race of gods represented by Apollo.
Enceladus’s Opposition to Oceanus and Clymene
While both Oceanus and Clymene wanted to convince the defeated gods that the best course for them would be to reconcile themselves to their changed circumstances, Enceladus, the Giant, felt deeply annoyed with what these two speakers had said. He regarded the dethronement of the Titans as an unbearable humiliation and he therefore suggested that the Titans should not give way to despair but should make a vigorous effort to regain their kingdoms. He said that their fellow-god Hyperion was still undefeated and that therefore they should not lose hope altogether. Just then Hyperion arrived at the scene in all his glory. On seeing him, some of the gods, especially Enceladus, felt even more encouraged in the stand which Enceladus had taken.
At this point in the poem, Keats deviates from the story of the Titans and thinks of the premature death of his brother Tom. A few lines later he says that he would like to sing about Apollo, “the father of all verse.” He then goes on to describe the strange experience which Apollo had on his native island of Delos. Apollo was roaming about in a valley on that island when he saw an “awful godess” coming towards him. Apollo was surprised to see this mysterious figure who seemed to have come from nowhere. He told the goddess that he had once dreamt of her and that she must be goddess Mnemosyne. The goddess told him that she had certainly appeared to him in a dream and that it was she who had placed a golden lyre by his side when he was asleep. From this golden lyre, Apollo had been able to produce a kind of music which, in sweetness and melody, exceeded all music which had previously been heard anywhere in the universe. The goddess now asked Apollo why he had been feeling so sad and why he had been weeping. He replied that there were certain things which he did not understand. He wanted to know the nature of the stars, the identity of the power which controlled the forces of Nature, the divinity who ruled the universe, and so on. He said that he had been feeling troubled by an “aching ignorance” of all these facts. Mnemosyne made no reply to Apollo’s question. Apollo’s mind was now suddenly illumined by a new discovery. Mnemosyne’s face brought to his mind the entire past history of mankind, with all its joys and sorrows, its triumphs and defeats, its agonies, and all its “dire events”. This new awareness and this new knowledge made Apollo feel that he had become immortal. Wild convulsions shook his whole body. He experienced an unbearable agony and he seemed to be on the verge of death. But the very next moment life seemed to return to him. He had “died into life.” He shrieked in agony and ecstasy. Then he realized that he had become a god. This is how Keats describes the deification of Apollo. In symbolic terms, Apollo represents Keats himself; and the description of Apollo’s transfiguration or deification means the ripening or maturing of Keats’s poetic powers.